Coin Specifications

Category: Liberty Head $10 (1838-1907)
Mint: Philadelphia
Catalog: KM-66.1
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 16.7180g
AGW: 0.4837oz
Melt Value: $602.40 (10/20/2014)
Diameter: 27mm
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1839 LG LET HEAD OF 38 $10 MS obverse 1839 LG LET HEAD OF 38 $10 MS reverse


  
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Description & Analysis

The most comprehensive background to the 1838-39 type is given in Breen's 1988 Encyclopedia, which we quote here in part: 'Verbal orders of President Jefferson had stopped mintage of eagles as of December 31, 1804. But in July 1838, after two different acts altering the weight and fineness standard of U.S. gold coins, the Secretary of Treasury instructed Mint Director Robert Patterson to resume coinage of this denomination at once. Acting Engraver Christian Gobrecht prepared new dies, and on Dec. 6, four 'specimens' (proofs?) went to the Secretary of Treasury, followed by 7,200 business strikes. Gobrecht copied the head of Venus in Benjamin West's recent painting Omnia Vincit Amor, (Love Conquers All) with slightly changed headdress but with the same triple beaded cord on her bun, and the same coronet (here inscribed LIBERTY), this is the same prototype used for the latest style of cents in 1839, differently modified. A very similar obverse design was resurrected in 1839 for pattern half dollars, with the head reversed and the curl on the back of Liberty's neck removed (see Judd-91 to 96 or Pollock 101-108). A slicked-up version of the old John Reich eagle served for reverse, on 1839 'Type I' (Type of 1838) this is called large letters.'

In 1839 the design produced in 1838 was struck again, and later in the year the design was modified to the more familiar Coronet style that was used on tens until 1907. Thus, the year 1839 saw two low mintage design rarities created. The former has in the past been called the '1839 Large Letters' type, while the second issue has been known as the '1839 Small Letters.' These labels have proved inadequate to describe the minute differences in letter sizes used, and in recent years (since the publication of David Akers' reference on eagles) the terms 'Type of '38' and 'Type of '40' have come to be more generally accepted.

The second year of Gobrecht's new design saw 25,801 eagles produced, but only a handful of pieces have been certified in Mint condition with this being the finest known. In this two-year series where an XF or AU coin is a significant offering, the importance of this extraordinary coin cannot be overemphasized to both date and type collectors.

Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.


GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 6/16/2014

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1839 LG LET HEAD OF 38 $10 MS
  GVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 1000 1100 1250 2250 4900 4900 6350 11100 14000 19500 31500 37000 46000 105000 225000 550000 800000 - - - -
$ 5850 7000 12500 15500 24000 34000 40000 - - - - - - -
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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 160
Low Grade: F
Average Grade: 50
High Grade: 64


Upcoming Auctions


Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
8/30/1999 NGC XF 45   Teletrade Auction 1205, 1205/Lot# 1837 $2,637.50
9/23/2007 NGC AU 58   Goldberg September 23-26, 2007 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 42/Lot# 3355 $12,650.00
1/9/2008 PCGS XF 45   Heritage Auctions 2008 January Orlando, FL (FUN) Signature Coin Auction #454, 454/Lot# 4383 $4,600.00
7/7/2011 NGC AU 50   Heritage Auctions 2011 July Orlando Summer FUN Signature US Coin Auction Session(3), 1157/Lot# 4841 $5,031.25
10/13/2011 NGC XF 45   Heritage Auctions 2011 October 13-16 US Coins Signature Auction #1160- Pittsburgh Session(3), 1160/Lot# 4986 $4,600.00
11/29/2012 NGC AU 50   Heritage Auctions 2012 November 29 - December 2 US Coin Signature Auction - Houston Session(3), 1177/Lot# 5051 $5,287.50
2/22/2013 PCGS AU 50   Stack's Bowers The March 2013 Baltimore Auction, 181/Lot# 4251 $9,458.75
3/21/2014 NGC Details AU Details  Heritage Auctions 2014 March 21 & 23 US Coins Signature Auction - San Francisco Session(2), 1198/Lot# 10655 $2,585.00


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1839 LG LET HEAD OF 38 $10 MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base111113815052068328640805328594867077138743178598849113421391423937341744959873114109368
113801260169224743550449655346201685072357573818996801219917255273493931557436851980
000000355044965534620168507235757381899680121991725527349393155743600
0000003815491257416454699473337716851910511130562059630761444566527500
1839 LG LET HEAD OF 38 $10 MS Prooflike
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base1111111111111111111111
1111111111111111111110
0000001111111111111100
0000001111111111111100
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: AU 58
Points: 2414
Owner: The Artist's Collection
 
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